Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 21, 2014

Kalona approves $55,000 for Kalona Valley Apartments

By Mary Zielinski | Dec 04, 2013

KALONA — With more than $350,000 in the city’s Low to Moderate Income (LMI) fund, the Kalona city council Monday not only approved a $55,000 allocation to the Kalona Valley Apartments, but also wanted to know if it was enough.
The LMI funds are derived through Tax Increment Financing (TIF) subdivisions at a rate of 30.1 percent and, as City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh noted, Kalona has had several subdivisions generating funds.
“This is a great way for us to spend our money,” said Mayor Ken Herington, noting that Kalona Valley (which has north and south complexes) meets all the LMI requirements.  The current request is to help with cost of a new community room and remodeling of the former one into a one-bedroom apartment.  Total cost was $169,065, which was $34,065 higher than the original estimate of $135,000.  The $55,000 will cover the shortfall and the $21,000 for the apartment remodeling, explained Dixie Schlabaugh of Kalona Valley.
In making the motion to approve the request, council member Mark Robe asked,”Do you want the $65, too” and was told the $55,000 “rounded it off.”
The city administrator noted that”We have had moderate success with grants for homeowners who meet the LMI criteria.  With our success with TIF subdivisions the fund will continue to increase and we will need additional outlets.”
In other business, the council:
• learned that there will be a join meeting between Kalona’s Community Center planning committee and the Mid-Prairie School District Dec. 18 to discuss a project,including a facility with 30,000 plus square feet.  During the meeting, there will be  discussion of a 28E sharing agreement.  City Administrator Schlabaugh explained that the M-P board is meeting in  work session Dec.16 to discuss plans for an April bond issue for districtwide improvements.  The community center, however, is a Kalona city project that likely will be on district owned land;
• learned there is an Open House for the existing community/recreation center Dec.7; and
•learned that the English River Watershed Management Authority (ERWMA) received its $150,000 DNR grant Dec. 1 and is now using it to pay for services and equipment, including wages for Jody Baily, who is now officially an ERWMA employee.  Kalona serves as the fiscal agent for the group. The ERWMA also received a $2,000 donation from Hills  Bank and Trust Company and has applied for a $20,000 grant from the Washington County Riverboat Foundation (WCRF).

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